Someone stole spring, and I want it back. I have been awaiting that glorious moment when I can unburden my coat rack of winter coats and scarves and tuck away my gloves and boots. Just when I thought we were almost there, the mercury falls and the wind gives a raucous helloooooo. Sigh. I wish I had a spring dance of sorts, you know, to call upon those warmer temperatures and get them to linger for just a little longer, but I think any type of dancing of mine just may scare spring away. Again.
Despite these cooler temperatures, I am loving what I am finding at the farmers' markets right now -zippy radishes, tender, earthy greens, eggs from happy spring chickens, and tangy cheeses and yogurt from sprightly goats. When the ingredients, especially vegetables, are at their peak, so fresh and bright, I like celebrating them in simple preparations, and sometimes a few different ways in the same dish- cooked and raw, pickled and sauteed, roasted and blanched, pureed and left whole. In this recipe, sauteed red radishes are topped with raw, julienned watermelon radishes. You may have never sauteed a radish before, but I promise you, you'll never see a radish the same way once you do. Heated with olive oil and a sprinkling of salt, the harsh radish mellows with just a teensy sweetness while still staying crisp and light.
This spring bowl came together one evening when a foodie friend of mine and I decided to meld minds...and pantries and fridges. (Side note: This foodie friend is also an amazing photographer...who just so happens to be shooting our wedding in just over two weeks and who shot our engagement photos!!!). We had both been in a bit of a recipe funk, so we decided to make it interesting by each contributing two different ingredients to the mix and then coming up with a dish. I chose radishes and beluga lentils, and she chose avocado and black rice (side note: I used a short-grain brown rice when I re-made the recipe, but black rice is both beautiful and delicious if you have never had it). We made things up as we went, tasting here and there for any additions to make it all really sing. I had some spring chickweed, a dainty and slightly bitter green, and fresh mint in my fridge, and we assembled a bright lemon and olive oil dressing to drizzle over top of everything. It really does taste as good as it looks. It was so good, in fact, I made it again after restocking my radish supply.
Like most bowl recipes, this is a template. The amounts of each component will vary depending on your preferences, but the ingredient combo here is spot-on. If you are craving a little more crunch, go ahead and toss in some toasted nuts or seeds. Feta or a tangy goat cheese will be beautiful on here as will a hard-boiled egg if you want to make it even more robust. Either way, this bowl is fit for a spring goddess- or god!
Spring Goddess Bowl
1 cup short-grain brown rice
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup beluga lentils
1 small bunch of radishes (about 6-7 radishes), greens removed (or a mix of red and watermelon radishes)
1 avocado, sliced
2 handfuls of greens (examples are chickweed, arugula, mache, or even sprouts!)
a few mint leaves, finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, finely minced
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for sauteeing radishes
fancy salt, to taste...also known as Himalayan salt or flaky sea salt;)
Cook rice. Bring water to a boil. Add rice, return to boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover pot and cook 45 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest 10 minutes. Reserve 2 cups of cooked rice for the bowl, and save the rest for another meal.
Cook lentils. Add lentils to pot and cover with water by 1-2 inches. Heat water to boiling, then reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 15-18 minutes or until tender. Test often to check doneness- you want a slight bite, but no mushiness. Drain and set aside.
Prepare radishes. Reserve one radish for raw garnish. Cut the remaining radishes into small wedges for sauteing. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add radishes, sprinkle generously with salt, and saute about 5-8 minutes, stirring often. Remove radishes when just golden brown on both sides and tender.
Thinly slice reserved radish (or use watermelon radish here) and then julienne slices for the raw radish garnish.
Make dressing. In small bowl, whisk together minced garlic, zest of 1 lemon, juice of 1 lemon, 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, and salt to taste.
Assemble bowls. Divide rice, lentils, sauteed radishes, and greens among two bowls. Top each with 1/2 of avocado, garnish with raw radish and mint, and drizzle with lemon vinaigrette. I like to finish mine with a sprinkling of fancy salt or whatever salt I have on hand. Enjoy! Makes 2 servings.